One of the first DDP Yoga positions you’re likely to encounter is Ignition Into Touchdown.
As foundational as all of the movements in the Diamond Dozen are, this one is perhaps the easiest way to start feeling dynamic resistance, which is what sets DDP Yoga apart from other yoga programs.
To understand why this move works (and every move in the Diamond Dozen, really), we need to first understand what DDP Yoga means by dynamic resistance. And to do that, we have to look at the different types of muscle contractions.
Three Types of Muscle Contractions
First, concentric contractions shorten the active muscle. Think of lifting a dumbbell for a bicep curl. Your bicep is shortening while under load.
The second type of muscle contraction is an eccentric contraction. This involves lengthening a muscle. To stick with the previous example, an eccentric contraction would be lowering that bicep curl as your bicep lengthens.
The third type of muscle contraction – the one we’re mostly concerned with – is an isometric contraction.
“Isometric exercises are contractions of a particular muscle or group of muscles. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn’t noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn’t move. Isometric exercises don’t effectively build strength but can help maintain muscle strength — often in a rehabilitative setting.”
In other words, the muscles are activated in a static position. It’s like that point during a bicep curl at which you’ve stopped lifting the dumbbell, but you haven’t lowered it just yet. You are flexing without moving.
Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic goes on to say that isometric exercises can enhance stabilization or help someone who recovering from an injury or has arthritis. He also says that isometric exercises may help lower blood pressure, but to check with your doctor first.
How DDP Yoga Incorporates Dynamic Resistance
If you’ve watched the DDP Yoga DVDs, or you’ve taken a class with a certified DDP Yoga instructor, chances are you’ve heard the line, “DDP Yoga helps you burn fat standing still.”
That’s because DDP Yoga incorporates dynamic resistance, which is a more palatable way to say “isometric muscle contractions.”
In one word, it’s tension.
How To Perform Ignition
First, position your feet hip-distance apart. Slightly bend your knees. This engages your quadriceps muscles.
Next, pick your toes up, and grip them into your yoga mat (Get new Yoga Mats & Props from my affiliate link). You should feel your calves and your feet start to work.
Then, straighten your legs. Keep a slight bend in the knees. Imagine your feet are on ice and you’re pulling them together, but keep them apart. You should feel this inside your legs in your adductors.
The last part of engaging the lower body is to squeeze your glutes and tuck your tailbone.
Now, the whole lower half of your body is engaged, from your feet up to your butt. This is how you start to burn fat standing still. By holding these isometric contractions, your muscles have to have more blood pumped to them. And to pump more blood, your heart has to work harder. And when your heart works harder, your heart rate starts to jump, and you start to burn more calories.
Time for the upper half.
Extend your arms out in front of you with your fingers spread apart, like you’re holding a beach ball right in front of your chest. Here’s the cue: “Imagine your body is like a fire hydrant. And when the fire hydrant comes on – BOOM! Feel the water and the energy shooting out in front of you.”
At this point, your fingers should be so tense that the instructor shouldn’t be able to make any one finger touch another.
This is Ignition.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while you’re here.
As you get more familiar with doing this move, you may hear the instructor abbreviate it to, “Flex your quads. Flex your glutes. Grab the ball.”
How To Perform Ignition Into Touchdown
From Ignition, inhale and lift your hands up toward the sky. Your fingers should be the tallest point of your body. Lengthen your back and lift as high as you can.
Then, exhale and bring your arms out to your sides. Once your hands reach shoulder level, turn your palms over and bring them down to your sides. Inhale back up into Touchdown, and exhale every time they come down.
Traditional yogis may be familiar with this pose as Mountain. (I searched several sites for this and couldn’t find a consensus on Mountain posture. For instance, I found this Mountain that didn’t seem to raise the hands toward the sky.)
What Body Parts You Work In Ignition Into Touchdown
You’re working quite a bit of body parts in this tremendous DDP Yoga posture:
As you move from Ignition, keep the dynamic resistance as you raise up into Touchdown. When your hands come down, keep the dynamic resistance. Your legs should be engaged the whole time your upper body moves. It’s as if you’re moving through clay or water or quicksand.